Toasted coconut marshmallows

The scene: It's the Tuesday after Summerscream 2009 and my office mates and I are just sitting down to a staff meeting.

Pulling a Tupperware from my purse:
I brought in a treat to get us through the next 2 hours.

Everyone leans in for a closer look.

Suddenly feeling a little self-conscious:
They're marshmallows.

The latest addition to the team pipes up, in disbelief:
Really? You made them from scratch? Who does that?

Attempting to explain how making marshmallows was completely logical -- reasonable, even -- given the circumstances:
I'm not crazy, it's not like I make them all the time or anything. I just had a lot of toasted coconut and egg whites kicking around and this seemed like a good way to use them up.

Another, slightly bemused face:
Why did you have so many egg whites?

Now I can really feel the pink creeping up my neck and into my cheeks:
They were left over when I made the batter for our homemade ice cream par...

Realizing it's a lost cause:
Oh nevermind.


Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
~2 cups coconut, toasted
~1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons + 2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites (or the equivalent in powdered egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread coconut evenly on a metal baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 3-4 minutes, until golden brown (about 10-12 minutes in total). Remove from pan and set aside.

Grease the bottom and sides of 9x13-inch baking pan, dust generously with icing sugar and then a layer of toasted coconut. Set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.

Meanwhile, cook the sugar, corn syrup, hot water and salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat to medium and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240 degrees Fahrenheit (about 12 minutes).

Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With a stand or hand-held electric mixer, beat the mixture on high until it is white, thick and nearly tripled in volume (about 6 minutes with a stand mixer or 10 minutes with a hand-held mixer).

In a large bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites (or reconstituted powdered egg whites) just until they hold stiff peaks. Add the egg whites and vanilla to the sugar mixture and mix briefly and lightly.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Shake toasted coconut on top, pressing lightly so that it adheres.

Chill, uncovered, until firm (at least 3 hours and up to 1 day).

Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan and flip the marshmallow slab out onto a large cutting board. Trim the edges and cut into cubes. Immediately roll the cubes in the remaining toasted coconut

Store in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 week. If you must stack your marshmallows, be sure to separate the layers with wax paper.

Source:, originally published in Gourmet, December 1998.